How much unspoiled nature should we preserve and what do we sacrifice for clean, renewable energy? Dreamland gradually turns into a disturbing picture of corporate power taking over nature and small communities. It’s the dark side of green energy.


Dreamland is a film about a nation standing at cross-roads. Leading up to the country’s greatest economic crisis, the government started the largest mega project in the history of Iceland, to build the biggest dam in Europe to provide Alcoa cheap electricity for an aluminum smelter in the rugged east fjords of Iceland. The mantra was economic growth. Today Iceland is left holding a huge dept and an uncertain future.

Dreamland is a film about exploitation of natural resources and as Icelanders have learned clean energy does not come without consequence. Iceland is a country blessed with an abundance of clean, renewable, hydro-electric and geothermal energy. Clean energy brings in polluting industry and international corporations.

Dreamland tells the story of a nation with abundance of choices gradually becoming caught up in a plan to turn its wilderness and beautiful nature into a massive system of hydro-electric and geothermal power plants with dams and reservoirs, built to power the increasing heavy industry that will soon make Iceland the largest aluminum smelter in the world.

This highly controversial matter goes largely unnoticed by the public until the plans are already in action and the industrial machine has been turned on. Although most Icelanders are against the idea of turning Iceland into the world’s biggest smelter of aluminum the locals where the smelters are meant to be built, celebrate the idea of increasing investment in their region and more jobs. For decades they have been getting desperate, facing depopulation as the young generation finds education and better jobs in the capital.

This multilayered story is also the story of a small nation’s continuing struggle for its independence, and today from multinational companies roaming the world. We try to grasp peoples fear for the future. The insecurity created by the constant news of looming economic slowdown, and uncertain future.

The question remains, how much unspoiled nature should we preserve and what do we sacrifice for clean, renewable energy? Dreamland gradually turns into a disturbing picture of corporate power taking over nature and small communities. It’s the dark side of green energy.

About the film

  • Type: Documentary
  • National Premiere Date: April 8, 2009, Háskólabíó
  • Length: 89 min.
  • Language: Icelandic, English
  • Original Title: Draumalandið
  • International Title: Dreamland
  • Production Year: 2009
  • Production Countries: Iceland
  • IMDB: Dreamland
  • Website:
  • Icelandic Film Centre Grant: Yes
  • Based on a : Non-fiction work
  • Production Format: 35mm, 16mm, 8mm, HD, DV
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Color: Yes
  • Sound: Dolby Digital
  • Screening format and subtitles: 35mm film with English sub. - 35mm film without sub. - DigiBeta with English sub. Blu Ray with; English sub.


Company Credits


  • Mirgorod Film Festival, Poltava, Úkraína, 2016
  • Culture Unplugged Festival, 2015
  • Culturescapes, Basel, 2015
  • Icelandic Literature Summer, Schleswig-Holstein, 2014
  • Gallery Verkligheten, 2014
  • Doclisboa International Film Festival, Portugal, 2012
  • Images from the Edge: Classic and Contemporary Films from Iceland, Lincoln Center, New York, 2012
  • ViewFinders: International Film Festival for Youth, 2011 - Award: Best Documentary Film.
  • Cinemateket, Oslo, 2011
  • Galway Film Fleadh, Ireland., 2011
  • DocPoint-Helsinki Documentary Festival, Finland, 2010
  • Göteborg International Film Festival, Sweden, 2010
  • Human Rights Human Wrongs Film Festival, Oslo, Norway, 2010
  • North Atlantic Movie Days, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2010
  • Hot Docs, World Showcase, Toronto, Canada, 2010
  • Doc Aviv Tel Aviv Documentary Film Festival, Israel, 2010
  • DOXA, Vancouver, Canada, 2010
  • Polish Film Festival in Gdynia, Icelandic and Norwegian Day, Poland, 2010
  • Cinema Politica, Montreal, 2010
  • Cinema Politica, Toronto, 2010
  • Balkankult Nordisk Panorama, 2010
  • Vera Documentary Film Festival, 2010
  • Nordic Film Festival in Rouen, 2010
  • Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival, 2010
  • Eurodok, 2010
  • Planete Doc Review Film Festival, 2010
  • Green Film Festival in Seoul, 2010
  • H2O Film Festival, 2010
  • Transilvania International Film Festival, 2010
  • Guth Gafa International Documentary Film Festival, 2010
  • Eco Film Festival, 2010
  • Dokumentarist, 2010
  • Gimli Film Festival, 2010
  • Dokufest, Kosovo, 2010
  • Camden International Film Festival, 2010
  • Filmfest Hamburg, 2010
  • San Francisco Documentary Festival, 2010
  • CNEX Documentary Film Festival, 2010
  • Zagreb International Film Festival, 2010
  • DokMa, 2010
  • Nordische Filmtage Lübeck, 2010
  • Leeds International Film Festival, 2010
  • One World Film Festival, 2010
  • Memorimage International Documentary Film Festival, 2010
  • Noordelkjik Film Festival, 2010
  • Nordic Art and Culture, Manchester, 2010
  • Scanorama European Film Forum, 2010
  • Ronda International Film Festival, 2010
  • Edduverðlaunin / Edda Awards, 2010 - Award: Documentary of the Year. Nominated for Film Score of the Year (Valgeir Sigurðsson). Nominated for Sound Design of the Year (Kjartan Kjartansson, Björn Viktorsson). Nominated for Director of the Year (Þorfinnur Guðnason, Andri Snær Magnason).
  • Off Plus Camera, Nordic Horizon, 2010
  • Nordisk Panorama, Reykjavik, Iceland, 2009
  • IDFA, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2009
  • Haugesund, Norway, 2009


  • Sena, 2009 - DVD

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